€350,000 awarded to 21 groups to develop facilities

By Hayden Moore

A BLOCKBUSTER amount of funding has been divvied out by South Dublin County Council (SDCC) with a wide array of community groups across the county receiving a share of €350,000.

Tweny-one groups have benefited from the Community Infrastructure Fund, with some taking in €5,000, while others received up to ten times that amount to assist with the development of their facilities.

St Francis 03 1

St Francis’s grounds at John Hyland Park received €50,000

Taking the biggest chunk of the pie, St Francis Football Club acquired €50,000 to fund the construction of a brand new, state-of-the-art Astro pitch.

St Francis FC Committee Member David Bergin told The Echo about how delighted the club was when they received the funding and what they will be specifically developing.

“It’s phenomenal, it’s absolutely brilliant,” he exclaimed.

“We have one floodlit pitch, but coming into the winter we can’t train on it because it will get ruined, because the quality of the pitch is so high, so we end up sending them out to train on different club’s Astro’s.

With their top-quality floodlit grass pitch, they recently facilitated training sessions for countries such as Iceland, Belgium and England among others, during the Under 17 European Championships – but they have decided to dig up their grass to replace it with Astro turf.

“We have to have an Astro surface to continue to grow as a club, we need to be 365 days a year and it’s ridiculous the amount of money we’re paying out to other clubs to use their facilities,” explained the board member.

St Francis currently have over 200 members filling out 19 different teams and are continuing to grow, so they have installed a three-phase plan to deliver the very best facilities in order to develop their squads.

The club is able to put all of the funding received from both the sports capital grant in 2017, worth €138,000, and the €50,000 from SDCC this week into building a FIFA-spec synthetic pitch, a high-quality second pitch and clubhouse over the forthcoming years.

“That is why this funding is so important to us, because we would not be able to keep going the way we are,” said Mr Bergin.

Three Rock Rovers Hockey Club will be benefitting from a €35,000 supplement to upgrade their clubhouse heating systems and bathroom facilities, while €30,000 will go to Gaelphobal Thamhlachta.

The Ionad Gaeilge agus Culturtha [Irish language and cultural centre] has been an ongoing project since its inception in 2011 and now this year with the café hoping to launch in September, they have received funding to develop a workshop and performance space in the centre too.

Located in Tallaght village, the club is hoping to house the drama group and youth club in the mini-theatre, among other things.

Pól Ó Meadhra, a teacher in Scoil Santain and chair of Gaelphobal Thamhlachta, told The Echo about how the centre is coming along.

He said: “We received a substantial grant from South Dublin County Council in 2015 for the development of our café, which we are hoping to open in September around the time when the schools start back.

“At the back of the café, there is another building where we are going to develop a mini theatre and the hope is that the café and the theatre feed off each other.

“We’re delighted . . . €30,000 should do a lot to get us going and we will need more funding – but it will really help.”

For a full list of all recipients see this week's Echo, in local shops now. 

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